How you can eliminate catchy tunes rapidly and reliably

Of all the creepy crawling animals out there, earwigs are some of the scariest. It doesn't help that these insects have had a serious PR problem for hundreds of years. They even starred in one of the scariest episodes in television history on the 1972 NBC show Night Gallery, in which a woman put earwigs in her husband's ears to devour his brain and eventually drove him insane. It should come as no surprise that this show was written by the master of the macabre Rod Serling, creator of "The Twilight Zone".

Pop culture aside, the reality is that catchy tunes are a common nuisance for many gardeners. You may have spotted half-eaten plants in the morning or had an unpleasant surprise by accidentally spotting some of these pinwheels while you were working in your garden. An important step in pest control is to get to know this pest better. By studying how they behave and what environments they are in, you can arm yourself with information to better protect your garden and home.

Good catchy control products:

Earwig overview

Wondering how to get rid of catchy tunes? You're not alone. Source: TJ Gehling

Common Name (s) European earwig, common earwig, pincher bug
Scientific name (s) Forficula auricularia
family Forficulidae
origin Europe, West Asia and North Africa
Affected plants Young seedlings, berries and flowers such as marigolds, petunias, dahlias and clematis
Common Remedies Set traps to imitate their preferred habitat or to lure them with a pungent smell. Remove leaves, debris, or other hospitable environments around vulnerable plants and your home.

Everything about catchy tunes

Let's start by dispelling the myth that catchy tunes eat the human brain. Fortunately, they don't tunnel into our brains through our ears while we sleep. You'll find other food sources like aphids much more appealing.

There are 22 types of earwigs (Forficulidae insect family) in North America. However, the greatest threat to gardens and plants is the European catchy tune. As the name suggests, this insect is native to Europe, as well as parts of Western Asia and North Africa. However, it was introduced in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1900s and quickly spread throughout the United States. Although they are found in almost all states today, catchy tunes are not common in arid and arid climates.

Pincer beetles tend to be nightmares, but you don't have to be afraid of catchy tunes. With proper management and a little vigilance, catchy tunes can even become a useful tool in your integrated pest control strategy.

Catchy life cycle

Adult earwigs hibernate in the ground in winter. In spring, every adult woman lays 30 to 55 eggs in her underground hibernation hole and watches over them until they hatch. While maternal care is normal for humans, this behavior is most unusual for insects. When you think about it, it's actually quite heartwarming.

The eggs hatch in nymphs and go through four to five stages of metamorphosis before becoming adults in autumn. Earwigs usually have a lifespan of around a year from hatching.

The tell-tale sign of an adult earwig are the tongs (cerci) located at the end of its stomach, with which they can defend themselves and catch prey. Women have straight pliers and men have more claw-like pliers. They range from light brown to dark red and are between 1/4 to an inch long. Although earwigs have wings, they rarely fly, making standing up in our ears even less likely.

Common habitats of earwigs

Earwigs are nocturnal omnivores that prefer humid and temperate environments. Their populations tend to grow in the humid spring and summer months. During the day, they usually hide in shady and moist areas such as under plants, mulch and leaves, or even in fruits that have been damaged by other pests.

You can also find earwigs accidentally infesting your home in winter when they are looking for hiding spots indoors. Since earwigs prefer damp and dark places, they are more common in dark bathrooms or in basements and crawling rooms. Try to identify and block entry points into your home, e.g. B. around the foundation to prevent earwigs from even entering.

What do earwigs eat?

Earwigs have a varied diet on soft-bodied insects and organic materials. Earwigs can be beneficial in your garden due to their voracious appetite for aphids.

Unfortunately, earwigs in the garden also eat ornamental and edible plants, including many flowers, berries and corn silk. Some mature plants can nibble a bit, but less established ones can suffer significant damage. If your garden is planted with lawns or ornamental shrubs, you shouldn't have to worry too much about earwigs.

An earwig infestation can be particularly bad after a rainy season. To identify earwig bites, look for irregular and ragged bite marks that are similar to snail's, but without a trace of mucus. Go out into your yard with a flashlight at night to catch her in the act.

How to get rid of catchy tunes

You may need to control their population if you have a severe infestation, but your goal shouldn't be to completely eradicate and kill earwigs. After all, earwigs can be an excellent ally in the garden against aphids and other pests.

Organic earwig control

In most cases, you shouldn't have to resort to pesticides for earwigs. In severe cases, you can try organic solutions such as insecticidal soaps made from the potassium salt of fatty acids, neem oil with an active ingredient from azadirachtin or kieselguhr (DE). Follow the manufacturer's instructions and quantities carefully. Use other best practices for insecticides, such as: B. perform a test spray, do not spray in the heat of the day and reapply the treatment if necessary.

When using DE, be careful not to use the type for swimming pools and opt for food-grade DE instead. Take extra care to apply DE near the ground, out of the wind and away from flowers to minimize contact with bees. DE is made from the fine shells of diatoms, which kill earwigs and other insects by cutting off their lower abdomen and dehydrating them.

Environment earwig control

Outside of your home, you should use traps as one of your main earwig management tools. There are free and easy-to-make natural tools that you can use to manage earwigs without killing too many of them.

You can create an earwig trap to mimic their natural habitat by placing a cardboard tube or rolled-up magazine around the affected area. Earwigs seek protection from the weather and crawl into "shelter". Then just remove your trap and soak the earwigs in a little soapy water.

Another popular method is to bait catchy tunes with a scent trap like a leftover tuna or anchovy can with oil or with a little vegetable oil and a few drops of soy sauce in a shallow bowl. Make sure the trap is sunk into the ground so that the top lines up with the ground. Earwigs are attracted to the smell and willingly step into the trap. The oil prevents them from leaking out. If you are concerned about other animals getting into the oil trap, you can cover the trap with foil and poke holes in it so the earwigs can pass through while other pests are kept out.

If you do find earwigs in your house, the best way to remove them is to vacuum them or sweep them up and dispose of them. You probably don't want to have a smelly tuna can around the house, especially in the summer!

Prevent catchy tunes

Most pest control strategies start with prevention. Preventively keep earwigs from approaching your plants by removing dead leaves, plant growth, garden debris and anything that may contain excess moisture. Check your susceptible plants regularly to monitor signs of a problem and minimize damage.

You can also try eliminating their living space right around your home to prevent accidental home invasion. Move mulch, ivy, ground cover, and other hospitable environments away from windows, doors, and foundations.

frequently asked Questions

Earwig close upDon't worry, earwigs are usually harmless to humans! Source: tom_bullock

Q: Why do you call them "catchy tunes"?

A: The word "earwig" comes from the old English word "earwig", which means "earwig". They have a reputation problem because of their scary looking pliers. There is an ancient myth that these insects can crawl up the ear canal to eat human brains. This claim is not based on science.

Q: do spiders eat earwigs?

A: Spiders generally feed on small insects. They eat catchy tunes when available and in their hunting area.

Q: Are earwigs pinching you?

A: Earwigs can pinch when threatened, but the pinch won't hurt too much. These squashers are used to defend against predators, to hunt smaller prey, or as part of their mating competition.

About the writer Huan Song:

Hello, my name is Huan.

My love of gardening was inevitable because I was raised by two epic green thumbs grandmothers. One was a paleobotanist who had all kinds of weird and cool seeds around the house, and the other was a farmer who turned into a dumpling entrepreneur and valued the freshest ingredients.

Studying environmental science and marketing in college, I was miraculously able to combine those interests into a career in nonprofits focused on social justice, food security, and sustainability. In one of those roles, I drove a big green pickup truck with fruits and vegetables to teach kids where their food comes from and how to eat healthier.

I currently work at a Big Ten science communications university and spend my free time gardening, making garden videos, and trying to keep my cat Nevis from destroying anything in sight.

The green fingers behind this article:
Lorin Nielsen
Lifelong gardener

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